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Six Dr. Seuss books removed for “racist and insensitive” images

"We want to be positive"
Posted at 6:13 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 18:13:45-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — For generations, children have enjoyed a variety of Dr. Seuss Books that tell stories with rhymes.

But six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be printed; “And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street," “If I ran the Zoo," “McElligot's Pool," “On Beyond Zebra!," “Scrambled Eggs Super!," and “The Cat's Quizzer".

Six Seuss books will no longer be published.

On the day marking the author's 117th birthday, celebrated with Read Across America, Dr. Seuss enterprises says it will no longer publish six of his books that contain what it calls “racist and insensitive” images.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises says some of the images in those books "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong” and therefore will no longer publish them.

Anne Ryan, executive director, Read to Succeed Buffalo.

“I completely agree. Their statement was these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong. It’s absolutely true,” commented Anne Ryan, executive director, Read to Succeed Buffalo.

Ryan says Read to Succeed works intentionally to bring in diverse book authors and illustrators to inspire children, not to perpetuate negative stereotypes of race or cultures.

Read to Succeed promotes a variety of books to reach diverse audiences.

“The images that we want to portray — we want to be positive. We want to have no limits,” Ryan explained. “Incredible award winning authors and illustrators to really have the kids who are reading these books see themselves.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises says in reviewing the books, they received feedback from teachers, those in academics and specialists in the field.

Image inside Seuss book.

A spokesperson for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library says it follows the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights, issuing this statement:

"As with all materials and collections, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library has adopted and adheres to the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. Volumes of the Seuss titles currently available within the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library will remain in the collection and available for circulation. The above titles identified by Dr. Seuss Enterprises will not be used for public programming."
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

But not everyone agrees with the decision to stop distribution of the six books.

“I love Dr. Seuss books and my children read them, and I read them to my children,” declared Dr. Peggy Brooks Bretram, Buffalo author.

Dr. Peggy Brooks Bertram, Buffalo author.

The Seuss books depict stereotypes of some cultures.

Images inside Seuss book.

Bertram's latest book, Dear Kamala is written to Vice President Kamala Harris.

But Bertram says about 20-years ago she wrote a series of children's books called “All Across Africa" with illustrations that today could be considered offensive.

Dr. Peggy Brooks Bretram, Buffalo author.

“Somebody might look at them and say oh my God — that hair style they have — that looks like an African hair style,” reflected Bertram.

Bertram says she is not offended by the Seuss books.

“As an African American — I know about racism — I know about the depiction of images that don't truly represent you,” Bertram remarked.

Bertram says the images she is concerned about are the recent violent Capitol riots, fearing children watched the coverage.

Dr. Seuss books.

“But at this time, and at this place in our history — I’m sadden that the best we can do is attack Dr. Seuss,” replied Bertram.

Read to Succeed leader Ryan says while they will discontinue use of the six books, other Dr. Seuss books will remain in the program.

“There’s some great Dr. Seuss books — we’re not going to throw them away,” noted Ryan.